Take the time on Veterans Day — Nov. 11 — to honor a veteran and/or servicemember for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our great nation. And behind those veterans, there are devoted caregivers and families who also deserve recognition for their selfless support and dedication to the men and women of the armed forces.
Veterans Day is a great opportunity for American Legion Auxiliary members (and nonmembers!) to fulfill the ALA’s century-old mission of supporting veterans, the military, and their families. Below are numerous ways to extend your sincerest thank-you to those who served so selflessly and courageously.
What can you do to celebrate Veterans Day?
- Host a lunch to honor veterans or servicemembers at your post or unit home. Talk to a veteran, let them tell you their story (if they want to talk about it). Bring in some patriotic-themed food and treats, such as these remembrance poppy
- Attend an event representing your unit – there are parades all over the country; find the closest one to you!
- Visit a local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital and spend some time with a veteran. Many VA facilities will host special activities and events on Veterans Day. If you don’t have a VA hospital near you, contact an assisted living or nursing home nearby.
- Organize a care-package packing party. Invite your friends, unit members, and their families to get together for this activity. Children can color pictures for the care packages while adults arrange the items.
- Wear a red poppy to honor the heroes who have fallen and the servicemembers who are continuously fighting for our freedom. Red poppies are worn to show support for the armed forces community, those currently serving, veterans, and all of their families. Learn more about the symbolic poppy at ALAforVeterans.org/poppy.
- Offer to help with household chores. Is there is a veteran in your ALA unit or post home who may need assistance with daily household chores? Offer to help. Vacuuming, dusting, mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow for a veteran is a small act of gratitude, but it speaks volumes.
- Donate to a cause that helps veterans. Every dollar helps. Even a small donation is money well spent to support our nation’s heroes. Consider donating to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation or other organization that support veterans, the military, and military families.
- Support veteran-owned businesses. It is estimated that 2.5 million U.S. businesses are owned by veterans. Check out bit.ly/2r0xDci to find your state and county’s veteran-owned businesses to support.
- Celebrate with service. Your unit can show appreciation for veterans and servicemembers by hosting a pitch-in — team up, cook some food, and drop the meals off at a veterans home or a VA facility. You could also write a thank-you note, or volunteer for a worthy cause as a way of honoring veterans’ service.
- Volunteer your ALA unit to participate in a stand down. Stand downs are typically one-to three-day events that provide supplies and services such as food, clothing, shelter, and health screenings, for homeless veterans. The veterans can also receive referral services to substance use treatment, mental health counseling, housing solutions, and health care. For more information, visit www.va.gov/homeless/events.asp.
- Don’t forget to always thank veterans for their service. It is a simple gesture, but it can make a huge impact. And whenever you see someone in uniform, take the time to show them your appreciation for everything they have done for our country.
For more information, view The American Legion’s list of discounts for veterans and servicemembers. There are deals at restaurants, retail outlets, and recreational opportunities on Veterans Day.